North West School of Surgery - Assessments (ARCP and IPRs)

North West School of Surgery

Assessments (ARCPs and IPRs)


Guidance on this page applies to the School of Surgery across both East and West Sectors of Health Education England, North West.


Introduction of New Surgical Curriculums Postponed until August 2021

New Surgical Curriculums were due to implemented in all surgical specialties from August 2020. The JCST have now confirmed that implementation of the new surgical curricula is postponed until 4 August 2021.

Please click here to see the JCST's statement

The new curriculums have now been published and are available on the ISCP wesbite.

Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)

An ARCP (Annual Review of Competence Progression) will take place for all trainees (including LTFT trainees) at least once per calendar year. For most trainees this will take place in June/July, however some trainees may have their ARCP in December/January. Ad-hoc ARCPs may take place at other times of the year as required. The ARCP outcome will be decided at an ARCP Assessment Panel at which the trainee will not be present, therefore all evidence must be on their ISCP portfolio before the ARCP Assessment Panel date. The TPD (Training Programme Director) may ask that evidence is ready 2 weeks in advance of the ARCP Assessment Panel. Trainees will not normally attend the ARCP Assessment Panel, however the TPD may ask you to attend for an Educational Meeting which will take place after the Panel have decided the ARCP outcome. Trainees issued an unsatisfactory outcome (Outcome 2, 3, 4 or 5) must attend the ARCP Feedback Panel to discuss the outcome and objectives for the next period of training.


For a full guide of the standard HEE North West process for ARCPs please visit our policies and procedures page:

Interim Progress Review (IPR)

Once a year, all trainees will also be invited to an IPR (Interim Progress Review) which will take place half way between ARCPs, or six months before the first ARCP for new trainees. IPRs usually take place in December/January each year, however some trainees may have their IPR in June/July if their ARCPs take place in December/January. The IPR is a formal face-to-face meeting to review your ISCP portfolio to assess your progress towards a satisfactory outcome at your next ARCP. The ISCP portfolio must be up to date and it is usually expected that trainees should have achieved approximately half of the annual requirements for the year (20 WPBAs) or evidence towards achieving the requirements (such as involvement in an audit) by the time of the IPR. The IPR is also a chance for trainees to discuss and feedback about their training experience.

Dates of Next Assessments

For details of the dates of the next assessments, please see the individual specialty's assessment page:

Form R

The GMC requires that an up to date Form R Part B must be submitted within the month prior to all ARCPs (a Form R is not required for an Interim Progress Review). We also ask that a Form R Part A is submitted once per year, usually at the time of the ARCP. Please visit the Form R page of our website for the most up to date versions.

Workplace Based Assessments (WPBAs)

All trainees are expected to complete at least 40 WPBAs per year, including one Multi-Source Feedback (MSF). All WPBAs must be validated before the ARCP Assessment Panel as the panel will not be able to see any un-validated assessments.


The minimum number of each type of WPBAs to be completed each year varies between specialties, please see table below:

Specialty DOPS/PBAs CBDs CEXs* MSF
Cardio-thoracic Surgery 13 13 13 1
Core Surgical Training 13 13 13 1
General Surgery 13 PBAs 13 13 1
Neurosurgery - Initial Stage (ST1-ST3)*** 10 DOPs 10 10 1
Neurosurgery - Intermediate Stage (ST4-ST5)*** 20 PBAs 5 5 1
Neurosurgery - Final Stage (ST6-ST7) and Special Interest (ST8)*** 30 PBAs 5 5 1
Oral and Maxillo-facial Surgery 13 13 13 1
Otolaryngology 13 13 13 1
Paediatric Surgery 24 12 4 1
Plastic Surgery 13 13 13 1
Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (East/North Western)**** 20 PBAs 7 7 1
Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (West/Mersey) 40 PBAs 10 10 1
Urology 13 13 13 1
Vascular Surgery 13 13 13 1

* Including CEX for consent

** T&O trainees in ST3 and above should ensure that all PBAs are assessed by consultants.

*** Neurosurgery - these numbers are the minimum of each type, you will need extra to bring the numbers up to the 40 minimum. At Intermediate stage, 50% should have been assessed by a consultant and for Final Stage and Special Interests 75% should have been assessed by consultants.

**** T&O (East/North Western) - these numbers are the minimum of each type, you will need extra to bring the numbers up to the 40 minimum. It is also expected that you will complete at least 2 CEX for Consent.


WPBAs should be carried out in a variety of settings with a variety of assessors (with at least 50% by your Educational Supervisor (AES) or other consultant raters)** and should be spread out evenly throughout the training year. Assessments should include comments by the assessor reflecting feedback given on performance and areas for improvement and a global rating indicating the level achieved.


Trainees should also complete Assessment of Audits (AoA), Observation of Teaching (OoT) and CEX for consent where possible and should complete at least one during their training.


Guidance on the practicalities of WPBAs and information on assessment types is available on the ISCP website.

JCST Certification Guidelines

Please see the following link for the most up to date JCST Certification guidelines:

external link icon guidelines-and-checklists/

HEE North West Visitor Information

pdf icon Click here for Visitor Information for our Liverpool office (Regatta Place)

pdf icon Click here for Visitor Information for our Manchester office (Three Piccadilly Place)


Page Last Updated 23 July 2021